by Rachel Freeny
I’ve never been good at admitting when I’m wrong. My competitiveness and insecurity often fuel my need to always be right, sometimes hurting others in the process.
Realizing this was not a good attitude to have, I decided to fix it by learning to be less wrong and more right. My new goal did not actually fix anything because the root of my problem was pride. Pride told me that if I was right all the time, I would never have to admit that I was wrong.
While studying abroad last semester, I was touring the Colosseum with some friends on a near perfect day inRome. We were trying to decide the best place to take a group photo, so I began looking around for the best lighting. I decided on a spot, but my friend, who is also interested in photography, told me I might want to choose another one because the lighting was actually not very good.
I had woken up a little grumpy that day and snapped at him that I knew what I was doing. I took the picture, and sure enough, it turned out terribly just like he said it would. He had only been trying to give a helpful suggestion, but I let my pride get in the way.
Almost immediately, I apologized to him. I could not believe I had let my pride get in the way of our friendship and enjoying a beautiful day. I’m thankful he’s a pretty forgiving guy, and we are able to laugh about it now.
I know I am not the only one who struggles with pride. While reading Character: The Pulse of a Disciple’s Heart by Norman Blackaby and Gene Wilkes, I was reminded that the Bible is filled with imperfect people just like me whose pride sometimes got in the way of their following God. But, God did not let their pride get in the way of His mission; He rooted out pride to develop godly character in them.
A Lesson from David and Abigail
As I continued to flip through the biblical case studies in Character, my thoughts turned to one story of humility that was not included by the authors. In 1 Samuel 25:1–35, we find the story of David and Abigail, which takes place shortly after the prophet Samuel died. David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and land.
When David received the report of Nabal’s reaction, he grew angry, thirsty for revenge. He gathered up his army and went to attack the males of Nabal’s household.
Abigail was a much wiser woman than her wicked husband. When she got word of what he had done, she knew trouble was coming. With haste, Abigail gathered food and wine and servants to bring to David and his men.
She met up with them on their way to attack her household. Humbling herself, she fell on her face before David and apologized on behalf of her husband’s rude behavior. She reminded David of the Lord’s favor upon his life and told him that the Lord would avenge him. If he tried to avenge himself by his own hands, he would carry the burden with him the rest of his life.
David had two choices. He could listen to Abigail and turn his revenge party around, or he could ignore her and follow through with his plan. The latter would have been easier and less humiliating in the moment. The former would require humility and admitting he was wrong in front of his men.
David listened and recognized that the Lord had sent Abigail to keep him from doing a terrible thing. Letting go of his already wounded pride, he admitted he was wrong and grew because of it.
David knew a thing or two about repentance. He continued to make poor decisions and prideful mistakes after this story; he was not always right but he always repented. He was a man after God’s own heart, and God used him despite his failures.
Just like David, we will make mistakes over and over again. But as we admit we are wrong and repent to the Lord and each other, God will mold our hearts and our character to be more like His.
My story from Rome is just one example of how God can use even the smallest incidents to change us. My prayer is no longer “Lord, make me right,” but “Lord, grow me, even when I’m wrong.”
Rachel Freeny was an intern with WMU’s Product Development Center. She is a rising senior journalism/mass communications major at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. This article is part of our focus this month on character.